Tochukwu Oraekwuotu writes that Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, one of the governorship aspirants in Anambra State disqualified by the All Progressives Grand Alliance has moved over to the African Democratic Congress
It is at times of great socio-economic challenges that great leaders are made. They bring their vision, empathy, courage and foresight to make a way where mere mortals despair. That narrative describes the leadership pedigree of Nze Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo, Oputa Ife Adi of Anambra State.
In 2012 when flood ravaged a great part of the riverine areas of Anambra State, the then Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Technical Matters, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo (NAN), mobilized men and resources to provide succor to the traumatized victims.
Challenged by his singular display of empathy, the state and federal government followed the noble steps by providing assistance to ameliorate the losses and reduce the shock inherent on the massive losses incurred by the people.
Earlier this year, when attempts where being made by moneybags to distort the zoning arrangement in the state, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo left whatever he was doing in Abuja and relocated to Anambra State. He set up structures and began the campaign for 'Let's Go South'.
Let's Go South became a rallying cry in the state such that Governor Willie Obiano, as the leader of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) praised Nwankpo as a man of vision, integrity and courage. The governor told political stakeholders that Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo would go places, stressing that the work of such a good man would be rewarded in no distant future.
The creativity and grassroots mobilization prowess of Oputa Ife Adi has set him apart as a problem solver and team builder. These qualities, especially his peaceable nature, came into play recently, when political jobbers moved to circumvent his ambition to serve NdiAnambra in the capacity of state governor.
It has become public knowledge how some political contractors mobilized resources to ensure that Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo did not fly the flag of APGA in the forthcoming November 6 governorship election in the state.
Overwhelmed by his grassroots following and public acknowledgement of his leadership skills by Governor Obiano, the enemies of progress orchaestrated his disqualification by the APGA governorship screening committee. But, deciding not to strive or fight with anybody, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo moved over to the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
All things started working together for Oputa Ife Adi's good and that of ADC, where the national chairman, Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu, has made a name for himself as a man of integrity and due process.
Nwosu had, back in 2002 suffered similar injustice that was served Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, as such it was easy for both young and patriotic Anambra sons to team up in the campaign against impunity and undemocratic practices in the state.
No sooner than Nwankpo emerged as the governorship candidate of ADC than the cesspool of political corruption, confusion and crisis in APGA became public entertainment and annoyance. Disenchanted APGA faithful decided to move over to ADC en masse as the party has become the new platform of choice owing to the harmony and public goodwill available to it.
With this new understanding, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo has turned out to be the most favoured candidate in the current Anambra State governorship race. And this tends to fulfill Governor Obiano's prophetic statement that Nwankpo will go far and obtain favour in political odyssey.
What is happening to the Nwankpo's governorship aspiration seems to be scriptural, because the stone, which the builders overlooked has turned out to be the pillar. His support based has increased exponentially, particularly after the mumbo-jumbo court judgments in the major political parties, especially APGA.
Old front runners have given way to the new champions-Nwankpo and ADC- due to the high level legal battles within the state chapters of the ruling APGA, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Among the three big parties-APGA, APC and PDP, the situation of things within APGA and PDP, appear most complicated. In APC, despite attempts by the party's Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) to reconcile aggrieved governorship aspirants, courts cases have been filed to challenge the return of Senator Andy Uba as the winner of the APC primary on June 26, 2021.
It is therefore evident that as things stand in Anambra State today, if the election holds tomorrow, Nze Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo stands out as the most likely candidate to succeed the outgoing governor, Chief Willie Obiano in office.
The emergence of Nwankpo as ADC's flag bearer sounds as victory over evil machinations of political undertakers. And as evidence of good nature, Nwankpo recently accepted the party's nomination of Mr. Law Ughamadu, a pastor, as his running-mate.
The former Presidential aide had at various times belonged to PDP and APGA. Ever since he emerged as ADC governorship candidate, the party has come alive in Anambra State as the possible alternative to APGA.
National Chairman of the party, Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu, was also a founding member of APGA. He left when leaders of the party imposed Mr. Peter Obi as the party's governorship candidate in 2003. Now, with the trouble in APGA, a lot of disaffected members who are kicking against the tradition of imposition have decided to identify with ADC en masse.
Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo commended Nwosu for being steadfast, saying that his insistence that things should be done the proper way has paved way for Anambra people to have a governor of their making. In line with Nwankpo's campaign promise, billboards bearing such messages as 'Anambra Families First', 'Give the Voice Back to the People' are springing up at strategic junctions by volunteer sponsors.
In his acceptance speech shortly after his nomination, the ADC candidate said he was manipulated out of APGA after Governor Obiano had publicly praised him for being a good man by some party leaders for their selfish ends.
Nwankpo stated: "When I started this journey there are people who never believed my name will appear on the ballot paper.
"Some didn't believe it because they felt I have no money, some didn't believe it because they felt I have no connection, and some didn't believe it because they believe they can steal it. Those who stole it in the first party I went to, will see they have stolen nothing."
He assured that after being sworn in as governor, he would restore family values and protect the life and property of every person in the state by encouraging good neighbourliness and harmonious inter-personal relationships.
Come November 6, 2021, protest votes from disaffected members of APGA, APC and PDP, in addition to Nwankpo/Ughamadu's goodwill, will help ADC supplant APGA as the dominant party in Anambra State by winning the governorship seat.